Women Dying of Opioid Overdose at Unprecedented Rates

The skyrocketing opiate over dose rate is getting some attention in a new CDC report:

The number of women dying from overdoses of opioid painkillers increased 5-fold between 1999 and 2010, according to new data released today by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The problem of prescription opioid drug overdoses in women is “getting worse and getting worse quickly,” CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said during a media briefing.

Deaths due to opioid drugs have “skyrocketed in women; mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters are dying from overdoses at rates we have never seen before,” he noted.

The culprit?

“The increase in opioid overdoses and opioid overdose deaths is directly proportional to the increase in prescribing of painkillers.” Opioid prescriptions are “increasing to an extent that we would not have anticipated and that could not possibly be clinically indicated,” Dr. Frieden added.

The Soaring Cost of the Opioid Economy   Graphic   NYTimes.comMeanwhile, the NY Times looks at the opioid economy.

The economic costs associated with the painkiller boom have also proved enormous, giving rise to a host of unanticipated medical, legal and social costs. Over the past decade, the legal — and illegal — use of these drugs has given birth to new businesses and expanded existing ones. These include urine-screening tests to make sure patients are taking the drugs properly, added sales of addiction treatment drugs, growing emergency-room expenses, law-enforcement budgets and skyrocketing costs for insurers.


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